– UCD prepared to support SU in “addressing the resourcing issues”
– Seconder of motion to rehire Copy Bureau employees withdraws support
– Protest described as “more like a riot” by member of Student Centre staff
– De Brún confirms that Copy Bureau will not re-open
Students’ Union President Pat de Brún has confirmed that the SU Copy Bureau will not be re-opening, despite a protest being held on January 25th against its closure. “This was not something that was done flippantly, it was nothing but a last resort.”
Auditor of the Socialist Workers Student Society, Karl Gill was pleased with the turnout and level of interest at the protest, estimating there to have been up to 300 people present, “it was fantastic to see that people were angry and wanting answers.”
A motion was put to Union Council two weeks ago regarding rehiring the recently let go Copy Bureau employees, but was rejected by a vast majority. The motion was put forward by Gill and seconded by Auditor of the Inclusion, Participation, Awareness (IPA) Society and second year Social Science Class Rep, Brian O’Brien.
O’Brien has since withdrawn his support from the cause after viewing a YouTube video of de Brún and Campaigns and Communications Officer Brendan Lacey being “pulled out of their offices and heckled and being made speak in front of two to three hundred people.”
O’Brien maintained that “it was a good protest, it got people out but you cannot drag people out of their offices and make them speak … Pat shouldn’t have gotten the abuse he did, no-one should abuse someone for taking a decision – he has to make hard decisions and that’s his job.”
De Brún confirmed the extreme behaviour, stating, “I was disappointed by a small minority who resorted to verbal abuse and name calling. I don’t think there is a place for that in the University and I think it undermined their protest.”
An anonymous employee of the Student Centre described the protest as being “more like a riot … it was something I’ve never experienced before, what I heard was … swearing. I was a little bit scared, it just all suddenly happened. I heard all the loud yelling and the swearing and I wouldn’t expect a protest to be like that.”
Following the protest, De Brún released an open letter to UCD students detailing the reasons behind the decision and information about the Union’s current €1 million debt.
De Brún explained his reasons for releasing the letter, “I felt that it was time to engage a bit more directly with students on the ground about the current financial situation because I’ve become very concerned that that campaign was spreading quite a bit of misinformation and exaggeration. I think that students deserve to be told exactly what the facts of the financial situation are and I wanted to lay it out in plain and simple terms, and ensure that it reached as many people as possible.”
The protesters suggested that the Union approach the University for financial support, an idea that was dismissed by de Brún in his letter. However, when asked whether the University would be willing to consider bailing out the debt, a UCD spokesperson stated, “the University has been, and intends to be, fully supportive of the Students’ Union in addressing the resourcing issues, and providing input to the work which has been undertaken by the firm of professional accountants.”